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Tyrone Lewis v. Officer Sharon Silfies

August 24, 2012

TYRONE LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER SHARON SILFIES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is a Joint Motion for Involuntary Dismissal filed by all named Defendants in the instant litigation. (Doc. No. 44.) This case involves pro se Plaintiff Tyrone Keith Lewis, who filed a civil rights action alleging violation of his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated at Lehigh County Prison in Pennsylvania. For reasons discussed below, the Court will grant the Joint Motion for Involuntary Dismissal as to the entire action.

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

On January 4, 2010, Plaintiff Tyrone Keith Lewis commenced the instant litigation by filing a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 1.) On January 8, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a Complaint was filed. (Doc. Nos. 2, 3.) At that time, Plaintiff was a prisoner at Lehigh County Prison in Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 1.)

On March 3, 2010, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, naming as Defendants: Officer Sharon Silfies*fn1 , Officer Christopher Begel, Officer Kyle Blocker, Officer Scott Reynolds*fn2 , Nancy Afflerbach, Steven Miller, Carol Sommers, Lehigh County, Lehigh County Department of Corrections, James Bloom, Lt. Gregory Thomas, Adrian Anderson, and Chris Miller (collectively "Lehigh Defendants"); Prime Care Medical, Inc.,*fn3 Judith Cihylik, Josie Bahnick, and Chris Myers*fn4 (collectively "Medical Defendants"); and Unknown Parties. (Doc. No. 10.)

Plaintiff has alleged a number of violations of his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as under Pennsylvania state law, arising from the conditions of his imprisonment at Lehigh County Prison. (Id.) On March 22, 2010 and March 26, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Request for Appointment of Counsel and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, respectively. (Doc. No. 14, 15.) On April 7, 2010, the Medical Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 18.) That Motion is still pending before the Court.

Thereafter, the Court entered an Order referring this matter to the Civil Rights Panel for appointment of counsel to represent Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 19.) During the following month, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address informing the Clerk of Court that he was being housed at the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility ("CFCF") in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Doc. No. 22); the Lehigh Defendants filed an answer and cross-claim against the Medical Defendants (Doc. No. 25); and the Medical Defendants filed an answer to the cross-claim (Doc. No. 27). On August 6, 2010, the Court entered an Order placing this case in suspense pending the appointment of an attorney from the Civil Rights Panel. (Doc. No. 28.)

On September 19, 2011, in accordance with the rules of this Court for the appointment of counsel and after at least two successive attorneys declined to accept appointment to represent Plaintiff, the Court vacated the request for appointment of counsel. (Doc. No. 33.) Additionally, a status conference was scheduled for November 15, 2011. (Doc. No. 32.)

In preparation for the status conference, court personnel contacted CFCF to inquire about conducting the status conference through video conferencing. The Court was informed that Plaintiff Lewis was no longer incarcerated there. A copy of the Order scheduling the November 15, 2011 status conference was mailed to the detention center because it was Plaintiff's address of record, as well as to 2605 West Somerset Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19132, the address provided by Plaintiff to CFCF upon his release from custody. (Doc. No. 32.)

On November 15, 2011, the Court held a status conference, at which time Plaintiff failed to appear. (Doc. Nos. 36, 40.) Counsel for Defendants, Thomas M. Caffrey, Esquire, and Andrew Dollman, Esquire, were present in Court. (Id.) Noting Plaintiff's pro se status, the Court stated that it would schedule another status conference in order to give Plaintiff an additional opportunity to pursue his claims. (Hr'g Tr. 6:11-7:19, Nov. 15, 2011.) Counsel for Defendants requested that they be permitted to appear by telephone at the subsequent hearing. (Hr'g Tr. 7:13-8:14.) The Court granted counsels' request. (Hr'g Tr. 7:22-8:8.)

That same day, an Order was entered scheduling a second status conference for December 19, 2011. (Doc. No. 35.) The Order specifically provided: "Plaintiff is required to attend in person the status conference." (Id.) A copy of the November 15, 2011 Order was again mailed to CFCF because it was Plaintiff's address of record, as well as to 2605 West Somerset Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19132. (Id.)

On December 19, 2011, a second status conference was held. (Doc. Nos. 39, 41.) Counsel for Defendants, Thomas M. Caffrey, Esquire, and Elizabeth Delach Snover, Esquire, appeared by telephone in accordance with the November 15, 2011 Order. (Hr'g Tr. 2:3-13, Dec. 19, 2011.) Plaintiff again failed to appear. However, his son, Tyrone Flyzell Lewis, appeared at the conference and informed the Court that Plaintiff does not reside at 2605 West Somerset Street. (Hr'g Tr. 5:4-11, Dec. 19, 2011.) Moreover, Plaintiff apparently requested all orders be sent to his place of employment, N-Motion Barber Shop, located at 2516 N. Dickinson Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Hr'g Tr. 5:13-6:11, Dec. 19, 2011.)

Noting Plaintiff's absence, the Court instructed Plaintiff's son to speak to his father and have Plaintiff contact Chambers with a new mailing address. (Hr'g Tr. 7:1-14, Dec. 19, 2011.) The Court informed counsel and Plaintiff's son that it would schedule one more status conference and that counsel ...


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